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Old 05-27-2010, 07:48 AM   #21
Heart
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Do you use the term "woman" as part of your identity?

Yes, unequivocally. My gender is woman (not femme).

What does it mean to you to use/not use the term "woman?"

I have always identified as/with women, but that identification has morphed, grown, changed, and deepened over the years as my own awareness and activism on behalf of women as a group has grown.

Does tension/discomfort exist for you in using the term "woman" together with butch, femme, queer, or any of your other identity definers? If so, why?

I do experience some tensions, yes. The term woman is weighted with assumptions that can feel rigid and limiting to me. Some of what woman conjures are things I am not always comfortable identifying with, even when they are things that are part of me -- submission, yielding, softness, motherhood, for example. Traditional notions of womanhood are rooted in the kind of sexism and misogyny that results in oppression and huge amounts of violence towards women. The very word “womanhood” can make me cringe because of the narrow oppressive ground/roles upon which it tries to force women to stand; and punishes them if they stray. Being a woman can be dangerous, scary.

If you do not use the term "woman" how did you come to the decision not to?

I never considered not using the term woman. But I do use it very consciously now. I use it in part because it feels natural to me, it is me; but I also use it because I want to claim it, I want to demonstrate that woman can mean queer, old, disabled, single, etc. Woman can be not-mother, not-soft, not-yielding, not-submissive, etc. Woman can be feminine in traditional and non-traditional ways. Woman can also be butch, lesbian, masculine, etc.
How is "woman" different from "female" (and I don't mean in the academic sense, but in the lived experience sense).

I don’t resonate with the word female. It sounds biologically based to me, and although biology is an aspect of gender and identity, and may be analogous to woman in some cases, I actually see/feel distinctions. To me, female feels narrow and concrete, woman feels related to history, to cultural, social, and political contexts that are important to me. Solidarity with diverse women throughout the world who do not have the option to parse their identities is important to me.

What does "woman" mean?

It’s a vast landscape of possibilities, potential, communities, images, visions, wisdom, roles, resistance, courage and power.

What does "woman" not mean?

It does not mean vagina. It does not mean mainstream notions of femininity. It does not mean mother, victim, catty bitch, manipulative, bimbo, bottom, or any expected, coerced, stereotyped role of womanhood. A woman may be these things, but these things are not, ipso facto, what a woman is.

I have noticed that I am not the only one who feels that using the term “woman” connects me to a history, exists in a context that has to do with culture and politics. While woman can simply be a fact, it is also, for me, a politicized identity.

By post-gender, I meant a world in which there is no longer any reason to politicize a gender identity. And no, we do not live in that world. Not when it comes to women.

I will be post-gender in the post-patricarhy.
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:56 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Heart View Post

Do you use the term "woman" as part of your identity? It is what I am and not so much an identity. I am a 100% cisgendered woman. I do not claim any masculinity. I am not third gendered, transgendered. I am the binary and it fits me fine. To me it is not about fighting the binary as much as fighting the limitations of only two genders.

What does it mean to you to use/not use the term "woman?" I do not use the word for my partner. He is not a woman, even though he was born female bodied. It may have been assigned to him at birth as his gender but it is not. Understanding that disctinction has given me so much insight into my own gender and how it was constructed yet also an intrinsic part of me.

Does tension/discomfort exist for you in using the term "woman" together with butch, femme, queer, or any of your other identity definers? If so, why?

I am enjoying and learning so much about gender and how people define woman. Sometimes it does feel online that more importance is given to woman with butch in front of it. And not in the context of butches who do not use woman but in comparison to a woman who may identify as just a woman or a femme.


If you do not use the term "woman" how did you come to the decision not to?

How is "woman" different from "female" (and I don't mean in the academic sense, but in the lived experience sense).

Female is the biological sex you are born with. Woman is the gender that is expected of female bodied people. I really like Julia Serano's definitions of all of these concepts. Woman, to her, is the subconscious sex we carry in our brains. Just like man is. Sometimes that matches our biological sex and sometimes it does not. It is intrinsic to a person and can override socially contructed gender or biological sex.

What does "woman" mean?

It means the best stuff ever!! To me it is a wonderful way to express the pride I take in my body and what it can do. Having a child and nursing that child was an amazing experience. I sitll can't believe that my body made her and fed her for her first year of life! It means hope, wisdom, nurturing and peace.

What does "woman" not mean?

Not sure how to answer that. I guess it means you are not a man?

There are many other questions that could be asked, and by all means ask them.

Thank you for this great thread Heart!
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Old 06-20-2010, 05:26 AM   #23
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Do you use the term "woman" as part of your identity?

I identify as a woman

What does it mean to you to use/not use the term "woman?"

Not using the term woman to describe myself means that I would neglect a part of my identity (but got to remind people that identity is not only defined by gender... my gender is only a part of who I am)

Does tension/discomfort exist for you in using the term "woman" together with butch, femme, queer, or any of your other identity definers? If so, why?

I don't feel any discomfort since I don't use butch, femme or queer to define myself. I prefer to use the word homosexual or lesbian when it comes to my orientation. I also don't see any dichotomy with the word woman and butch, woman and femme or woman and queer.


How is "woman" different from "female" (and I don't mean in the academic sense, but in the lived experience sense).

Because homo sapiens sapiens is an animal species using sexual reproduction, female describe, in most cases, a physiological and anatomical state of the body. It is usually the phenotype expressed from the XX genes. ( I said USUALLY!!!! which means not always ).

As Simone de Beauvoir wrote in Le deuxième sexe: "On ne naît pas femme: on le devient." Which can be translated by: One is not born a woman: one becomes a woman. (N.B: the word sexe in french has both the meaning of sex and gender). So yes, being a woman differs from being a female because gender is based on a social and cultural construct. Being a woman in Québec is very different from being a woman in Burkina Faso...


What does "woman" mean?

Woman means what I made, make and will make of it. The sky is the limit.

What does "woman" not mean?

Woman does NOT mean: weak, feeble, non assertive, passive, over sensitive, .... But that is MY definition of woman.
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Old 10-11-2017, 08:28 PM   #24
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It can mean a lot.
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Old 10-13-2017, 08:46 PM   #25
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Interesting to see this thread come back up now in a world where a self confessed rapist is our president and I'm trying to find a disinfectant strong enough to rinse out my brain after reading about Harvey Weinstein's decades of raping women with impunity. I can just see the conversation now, and it's quite droll. 'Oh, no Mr. Weinstein. You wouldn't really want to rape me since I don't identify as a woman.'

Whether or not I agree with their assessment, (which, as it happens I do), I am seen as a woman by would-be rapists, and everyone else, wherever I go. Most of us are seen as women, even most butch women. It might be because I didn't get enough sleep and I'm even crankier than usual, but even as an academic exercise, it seems increasingly odd to claim this is a 'post gender world' when it's not even a post gender nation. Heck, NYC isn't even a post gender city. Neither is San Francisco, and they're a lot closer to genderless over there than we will ever be here on the E Coast. I'm still using my old school gender, thank-you-very-much, so I don't appreciate it when someone tells me my gender has gone out of fashion.
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:18 PM   #26
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Do you use the term "woman" as part of your identity?

Yes

What does it mean to you to use/not use the term "woman?"
I id as a butch woman.I take pride in my masculinity and being my own unique woman self.Strangers who never seen or been in the presence of a butch woman,after seeing me, either walk away amazed or disgusted.

Does tension/discomfort exist for you in using the term "woman" together with butch, femme, queer, or any of your other identity definers? If so, why?

No

How is "woman" different from "female" (and I don't mean in the academic sense, but in the lived experience sense).
A woman is a human being and a female is an animal.Knowing the difference between the two is a good skill to have because some people like to think of themselves as animals and like to be treated like animals.I was born a girl and now I'm a woman.I like to be treated like a human being,show some respect.

What does "woman" mean?

A woman means real power and tenderness.Its always been something I wanted to be and be around.

What does "woman" not mean?

It does not mean being a victim.Fight back!
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:44 AM   #27
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Do you use the term "woman" as part of your identity?

Well, I primarily indetify as lesbian, and that implies being a woman, so sure!

What does it mean to you to use/not use the term "woman?"

It's the very core , the soul of who I am - and always have been, please note! I may have been born with male bits but men always were and are alien to me, men are "them" whilst women are "like me", "us"

Does tension/discomfort exist for you in using the term "woman" together with butch, femme, queer, or any of your other identity definers? If so, why?

Nope, none whatsoever!

If you do not use the term "woman" how did you come to the decision not to?

-

How is "woman" different from "female" (and I don't mean in the academic sense, but in the lived experience sense).

It's the experience of being on the wrong end of patriarchal expectations of us for being female (or if you want to be pedantic about it, for my being clearly not-male conforming when young, then obviously female when older); it's also that sense of sisterhood, of community with other women knowing they've shared many similar trials and tribulations to yourself simply because we are women. It's also in a very hard to define way a way of viewing and thinking about the world, too. It often seems to me that men very literally are not living in the same experiential world as us (and I'm not simply talking about male privilege etc here)!

What does "woman" mean?

Caring, Loving, Strong, Enduring, Powerful, Expressive, Confident, Wonderful, Glorious!

What does "woman" not mean?

Slave to the shackles of patriarchal expectations of us, as far too many women worldwide still are, sadly
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